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Consumer Safety

US FDA takes step to limit lead in juice

by Britt E. Erickson
May 6, 2022 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 100, Issue 16


Young child drinking apple juice from a glass.
Credit: Shutterstock
The US Food and Drug Administration is targeting lead in apple juice to reduce childhood exposure to the toxic metal.

As part of a broader effort to reduce toxic heavy metals in foods and beverages consumed regularly by young children, the US Food and Drug Administration is recommending limits of 10 ppb for lead in apple juice and 20 ppb for lead in other juices. If industry follows the FDA’s draft guidance, which was issued April 27, it could lead to a decrease of up to 46% in children’s lead exposure from apple juice, the agency estimates. The agency proposed a lower limit for apple juice than for other juices because apple juice is more commonly consumed, it says in a press release. Consumer and public health advocacy groups say the limits are too high for all the juices. “The FDA’s proposed limits fall far short of the protection children need from the dangers posed by lead in fruit juices,” Brian Ronholm, director of food policy at Consumer Reports, says in a statement. “Most manufacturers are already meeting the limits proposed by the FDA,” and much lower levels are feasible, he says. The FDA is accepting comments on the draft guidance until June 28.


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